GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Hundreds of students walked out of Cherry Creek High School Friday to take a stand against bullying a suicide after the death of one of their classmates, Jack Padilla. Padilla, 15, a freshman at Cherry Creek High School, committed suicide in February.
Friends and family members said Jack was the target of an older group of students who physically and verbally bullied him.
“Some of the bullies sat on Jack, pushed him around, threatened to shoot him with a gun… kids telling him to kill himself,” said John Padilla, Jack’s older brother.
Friends said that they did not report the bullying to adults because the feared the problem for Jack would get worse, they worried the bullies would retaliate, and they did not want to be considered “snitches.”
They were hoping that the walkout rally would raise awareness so that what happened to Jack would never happen again.
“Jack strong!” shouted the crowd in unison.
In Jack’s name, supporters started an anti-suicide and bullying prevention campaign, called #JackStrong.
“We are trying to stand together for Jack and be strong for Jack,” a friend told the gathered peers.
“I think if we just constantly remind the people around us, whether it’s someone you love, a brother, a sister, a friend or even a stranger. That they are loved and they’re supported, I think it’s a big step in stopping all of this,” another student said.
Cherry Creek School District officials said the school did not receive any reports of Jack being bullied prior to his suicide. Greenwood Village police are investigating the alleged connection.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Your call is confidential and free.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.